Updated: Apr 2, 2020
Hey my lovely Smurphies! Get ready for this amazing trip post because this was my favorite trip thus far! The Biltmore Estate. Ahhh, just saying the name brings back amazing memories. It was built in 1895 by George Vanderbilt because he loved the view and atmosphere of North Carolina and decided he wanted his vacation home there. It sits on 8,000 acres of gorgeous scenery and has breathtaking gardens to stroll through for hours on end. [We could cry, literally.] So, to show you all of the mansion and grounds and such, it would be way too long for a post. Therefore, the best highlights of this trip will be presented to you!
Restaurants/Food: were literally to. Die. For. [Mmmm, yes.] There's many restaurants in their Inns and in a specific area on grounds. My favorite was the fancy dining area within our Inn. We stayed at "The Inn on Biltmore Estate," and their dining room was to the nines. When I ordered tea, because as we all know I love tea, they brought it to me in a fancy cup with a saucer and a little silver teapot to pour my own cups to my heart's desire [and we desired it big time.]. Another impressive (and very healthy) thing I learned from a staff member is that their dairy, eggs, and meat is fresh because they get it straight from their animals they raise on their grounds. And yes, that means they slaughter their own animals. While this seems very cruel (especially to my vegetarian/vegan readers), at least they are cared for with the up-most respect and genuine love as possible. I've seen all their animals, they're super happy, nicely fed, and so sweet.
The Mansion: we went during the winter, so there's not much to see gardens and flowers-wise. But, it's just as lovely in the winter. They even have a Conservatory full of different plants and flowers from all around the world so you can still get your Anthophile or Phytophilous fix! I've provided some extraordinary pictures of the highlights of the house. Of course, not all of them, I have so many and there's much more amazing things to see, but this is what I can give! The first photo is the servants' kitchen where they would prepare food for the Vanderbilts and their guests. There's also a bunch of hallways and "secret passages" that were built in for the servants so they wouldn't be seen while the Vanderbilt's were hosting parties for their guests. The picture with the mannequin draped with her nightgown sleeves elegantly was my favorite room in the entire house. It had a gorgeous balcony, tasteful antique furniture [Because I love vintage and antiques], and amazing tapestries! But the most memorable was probably their pool. It literally looked like a giant bathtub. Definitely something out of the 1800s.
Activities: There's endless fun things to do at the Biltmore, and even outside the Biltmore. Downtown Asheville is also a great place to sight-seeing, shopping, and fun! I chose horseback riding instead of snow-skiing because it sounded more fun, less dangerous, and I had never been horseback riding before. It. Was. Worth. It. Though it was too muddy to trot, the experience of a huge, wide beast in-between your stratal is insane. What beautiful, majestic animals. I never realized it until that moment. Was $65 and well worth it for the beautiful trail scenery and well-trained horses they have. They also have a shop that has marvelous, unique merchandise and antiques. They also sell jewelry and 1900s clothes and accessories. It's very expensive so make sure you have some extra money for those guilty pleasure splurges! Plus, since the grounds are so huge, there's many places to go hiking, take your dog on a walk, go for a bike ride, you can even bring your horse. This place be fancy.
Books, Libraries, Bookshops: Finally, the best part saved for last [of course.] The famous, outstanding, magnificent library of the Biltmore Estate! I swear it's the most extravagant, personal, home library I've ever seen. Rich tapestries and fabrics, hand-carved furniture and foundation etching, and of course, the books. [Fawn. Faint. Die.] A volume-collection of 22,000, ranging in subjects of American and English fiction, world history, religion, philosophy, art, and architecture. [Swoon. Is that all?]
I happened to stumble upon a very nice local bookstore in Downtown Asheville called Malaprop's. I found some great finds and they seem to carry a lot of lesser known books with subgenres. I found a lot of great treasures I had never even heard of!
I hope this inspired you to book it on your Bucket List! It's a pricey one. For more info, click here.
I love you Smurphies! I'll post more soon.
the Blue Label
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